Hurricane outside, Maelstrom within (poem)

nasa-71747

 

 

Flickering lights and uncertainty rolled out in front of us
myself, my family
the wind crashed whistling through the eaves of the house
like an errant train in the dead of night
lightning danced 
Death had come ashore and ghosts were marching to martial music
thundering heels against the coal black night

the telephone rang
in foolish compassion I answered
and a voice from the grave spoke to me
suddenly I felt thirsty, ravenously hungry
and though the conversation was pleasant
my veins began to ache
and my body began to ache
to be possessed by old habits of a foolish youth
spent locked in torment

after we said goodbye
to fight against the desire of anonymity
I flung the doors open to the storm
wind, leaves, and rain rolled inward
when the threat between my ears
became greater than the one that ran screaming through the night

I pulled up shades
threw open windows and breathed in chance
in giant cleansing gulps
hoping against hope that I could exorcise my dutiful mistake
between The Father, and The Son, and three glasses of red wine – the blood
This I did in remembrance
I all of a sudden felt needy
to be possessed by creatures of the veil not far beyond my touch

I watched the storm blow the rest of the night
between flashes of lightning and gusts of wind
the fourth horseman I knew galloped close by
I waited for upon my cross of bones and childrens toys
for the sound of his thundering hooves
my gaze locked in on the shadows beyond the trees

At some point I fell asleep
only to awaken at dawns first light with my mouth
tasting like yesterdays news
and my clothes just barely damp
I rose from my leaf littered bed
my solace sleeping soundly next to me
my protection asleep soundly on the floor

I rose and peered into the stillness with a heavy head
a tongue that cleaved to the roof of my mouth
I noticed the lightening of the sky with the rising of the sun
now that the storm had blown itself away
and though there be no track marks, no bottles laying strewn on the floor
even though I knew the name of the man next to me in my bed
I still felt the shame of a misspent night
and the lingering feeling of poison in my veins

I’m an addict without a habit
no that isn’t true – no, there’s a habit there
and it isn’t in recklessness or immoral lack of judgement
it was in a simple act of compassion
that now, today burns a hole in the center of me
that wracks my body with a guilt even though I never did anything wrong

In the stillness of that morning
I slowly rose up from my sleep as a hangover
thudded mercifully between my ears
and before the rest of the house woke
I stripped down and walked naked into a cold shower
humming, “Precious Lord, take my hand.”
as shakily, shivering from the cold, I washed away my shame
and I climbed back on the wagon

Violence and Scars ( a call for passive resistance)

 

gerrie-van-der-walt-286099

Photo by Gerrie van der Walt on Unsplash

I remember the day 9/11 happened. It’s something that is seared into my memory.
The whole day I was in shock.
I fell asleep to CNN and woke up to it still playing on the television with picture after picture, replay after replay of the hijacked airliners and the damage they’d done.
The body count.
People standing outside of The World Trade Center weeping, begging God and passerby’s to deliver them their loved ones.
The next the numbness of it all wore off and there I was, nineteen years old, weeping into the arms of my sister.
I was scared.
Knowing all those people died, it broke my heart.
I remember asking my mom if she thought there were ‘saved’ people in those buildings.
The other day, with Charlottesville I sat down and cried again. I’m thirty six years old and later on as I prayed the ‘Our Father’ with my husband – clinging for some kind of comfort – when I got to ‘Thy Will Be Done’ I choked it out.
I’ve lived a long life.
Not in years but in experiences.
I am a survivor of fundamentalism.
I was raised in the belief that I had no inherent ‘good.’
That the world had no inherent good.
I was beaten. Often. The religion was rigorous and I often rebelled against it.
I knew as a kid there was something inherently wrong with them.
I couldn’t put my finger on it – I mean, the people we talked to were polite, they dressed nice, the churches were nice, they drove nice cars….and in a lot of ways, it wasn’t the worst of circumstances.
Until it was.
And when it was, baby, it was a honey.
I’ve seen and been through things too bizarre to put in 9 books let alone one.
My sisters, can even top my experiences.
Those experiences have put a scar in me, on my heart, so deep it cuts into my very being into the foundation of who I am as a person.
And if I am not careful, those scars, get infected.
I have to be vigilant.
There is an old Sunday School song that goes, “Oh be careful little ears what you hear. Oh be careful little ears what you hear. For the Lord above is looking down – in love – oh be careful little ears what you hear.
It’s in what I hear – that requires the most vigilance.
Like someone who’s had a weather related injury, such as heatstroke, or frostbite or someone who’s come in contact with poison ivy – I’ll always be susceptible to the tone of a message than the actual message itself.
Passion, rhetorical flourish, and charisma are the cornerstone of any good speaker. It’s not really in what they say, that makes us listen, it’s all in the delivery.
Think of your favorite speaker, preacher, politician, or public persona.
Don’t listen to what they say, give that a rest, listen to how they say it.
There’s a lot of umph to their message, a schtick they use, they’re just like you….but they’re not. If they are public speaking, have their starched white shirts rolled up, can deliver a speech without any reservation or nervousness, they haven’t been one of you for a very long time. Most people I know HATE public speaking.
Right now, there is a lot of talk about Nazis and their alter ego – Antifa.
There’s a lot of passionate rhetoric being tossed around by both sides. Promises of violence. Actual acts of violence and confrontations.
A whole lot of passion.
We should always stand against fascism. Always. There’s no room in a free society for authoritarianism. Period. White supremacy and it’s ugly older brother antisemitism and ugly older sister bigotry – ruin and destroy – and have never once created a thing.
It’s led nations into ruins and took its people along for the ride.
And while there is something in the idea of standing up to a Nazi and ‘giving them their just desserts’ violence never creates anything. Like racism and bigotry – violence only begets more violence.
I’ve seen so many people on social media talking about ‘getting ready ‘ for some kind of showdown with the evil that is Nazi’s and no doubt – they are evil.
Yet these same people are unaware, or maybe they are aware, that they are slowly becoming being pushed into the very thing they’re trying to fight against. They become the other side to the same coin.
I feel like a fool when I quote this man, because everyone does who try to drive home a point. Bigots have used this guy, which isn’t too far a stretch since a racist will use Jesus and the Bible to justify their deep rooted hate. But Dr. Martin Luther King stood against much worse, so much worse, and was far more effective in his methodology of passive resistance than any armed conflict can ever accomplish.
War is not about success no matter what General stands up and delivers his speech ‘to the boys’.
War is about failure.
It’s about people failing to come together and work out their issues.
It becomes mindless.
To commit an act of violence against another human being, you have to work yourself up into a state of mindless rage and once that line is crossed – there’s no coming back.
Ask the vets who’ve come back from Iraq and Afghanistan how they feel.
I am not telling you to march. I am not telling you not to resist. I am not telling you to just let them hit you or hurt you. No. You have a right to defend yourself from bodily harm.
All I am asking you to do – is listen not to what your side says – listen to how they’re saying it. Listen to the words they use, not in a way that convinces you to join their cause, but what they are calling for.
The French know about this.
While their revolution was probably 100 percent just. It became a mindless stream of violence and death because people couldn’t back out of the frenzy they found themselves in.
There were so many different factions inside of that event that when someone starts to talk about the French Revolution – you are 100 percent justified in asking, “Which one?”
Are we facing some dark times? Yes. No doubt.
‘ The other’ regardless of where they fit, are in dire straights.
But ladies and gentlemen, there is power in numbers.
Passive resistance like Dr. Kings wasn’t very popular in America. He was murdered for it. Like Christ, he used to the parts of the society in which he lived to shame the wise. He held a mirror up to this country and let it get a good look at itself.
Sure you may face violence and worse when you stand up for what you believe in in any capacity.
But there is one sure fire way you’ll be unable to avoid it and that is by being violent yourself.
A man that lives by the sword will die by it each and every time.
Whoever got a hold of those 15 hijackers used passion to convince them 100 percent of their righteousness. The man who plowed into the crowd of protesters was 100 percent convinced of his righteousness.
The man who sucker punched his little boy, and bounced his head off a tile floor in the kitchen because they were angry, was 100 percent sure – in the heat of the moment – he was right.
Curtail your passions. Or they will destroy everything around you and trust me, there are some fates that are worse than death.

Violence is NEVER the answer. All it does is create a whole myriad and painful questions. Questions like, “Why me?”

What’s worse, is some questions then, have no good answer and because of that – there is are scars that never heal right.

9 published works (poem)

jilbert-ebrahimi-33575

Jilbert Ebrahimi

walking on shattered glass
all that remained of my life..
I stood in the midst of my turmoil
storms had come
and all around me chaos 
reigned in fragments
of my sanctuary

I stood there
hands shoved in my pockets
afraid to take another step
for fear of cutting my feet
all that I was and would be
had exploded into unrecognizable
shards

I didn’t know what to do
I cried for a bit, called out for help
but no answer came
and as the wind swept the curtains
inside the hollowed out home
I’d never felt so lonely

I dried my eyes with my sleeve
cold from the wind and the rain
I found a red tape recorder
I’d been given for Christmas
laying at my feet

kneeling down I cleared a spot
until I had a place to sit
then, with recorder in my lap
I recounted the wolf like
screaming of the wind
and pounding of fists
of thunder and rain

there alone and in the dark
I told my story
nine times
Over and over
adding detail to some
removing names from others
but each time telling the truth

I fell asleep at some point
My head resting on my right arm
the left clutching the recorder
i curled up inside myself
with my truth pressed against my heart

When the dawn woke me
and voices calling out my name
jolted me from a fitful night
filled with nightmare images and ghosts
who’d leaned in to whisper
in my ears
stories children shouldn’t hear
but ones this one knew by heart
I yelled out for God

When I was swept up
I’d realized in horror
that my recorder had been handed
off
and someone had pressed play
in silence of those who’d come
I heard an old man
telling my nine truths back to me

It was motionless in the ruins
No one moved
I couldn’t even hear myself breathe
The world should hear this
The one who held me whispered softly
when the tape ended
I turned to my head to look my husband in the eyes

They did.
Where do you think the storm came from?
He gathered me to him
and in silent reverie
walked me out into the morning sun

Author’s Triumph (poem)

joshua-earle-117661

 

 Joshua Earle

 

 

 

I feel worn out
the words have run dry
disappearing into the air
the finish line behind me
on this mountain I built myself
that once rose out before me

On shaky burning legs
gasping for breath, stitch in my side
I lean over and take in
the ice cold air
somewhere above the clouds
with the sun on my face

The thunder rolls
somewhere beneath me
the rain I’d run through
mixed with my sweat
clinging to my heaving chests
but its silent here

Sixty thousand four hundred
steps I’ve taken
lost my place and slid
on broken pieces of other’s
shattered dreams
I cut my hands
when I skinned my knees
and packed my mouth
with snow

But now, here
atop my mountain
made by me
the sun shines bright
casting my shadow long
behind me
I bask sinking to
my knees
refusing to feel the sting

I’ll float down
it’s always the same
I’ll sink and slide
laughing
down is always easier
than going up
grace, my help, in
the rear-view mirror
and i’ll sleep

then one day
my fingers will itch
and my mind will grow
restless as wanderlust
sets in again
and like some forgotten diety
I’ll summon the rock
from the earth’s deep core
and thrust it twice as high
once again

but for now I’ll stay
in the sunlight above me
surrounded by friends, my husband
my God
casting long shadows back
on the mountain face
clutching the finish line ribbon
as it flutters, broken, in my hand

Fucking excuses (poem)

tyler-mcrobert-85470

 

 

I am so tired of the fucking excuses
friendships, relationships, existence excluded
concluded for what?
are we that fragile
is thinking, now, something frowned upon?
staying true to a person now passe?
is it all relative?
Love is not love that turns its back and walks
stop spreading bullshit – this isn’t a garden

9/10ths of the problems of the world
are rooted in the idea that a person has a right to another
I can own you and can therefore do to you what I want
Whether you’re talking about police brutality
or when people let their fandom that much access to their lives – people will move the fuck in and will take up whatever room you allot them.
Are you for real? Still not clicking in to this?
How about when a grown ass woman – not some nasty side hoe
doesn’t reduce herself, her dreams, her ambition so he can feel needed?
Feel me now?
He couldn’t own her, she wasn’t on the auction block, so he left.

And in my case I stood up for some Jews
those are the fucking people you hate when you WANT
to become a bigot. They’re a racist’s training wheels.
I could have said that a lot nicer
But I don’t pretend to be someone I’m not
There was no ‘welcome to my parlor said the spider
to the fly’ sign on my door
I’ll kiss your ass for the same reason I do your laundry
and that’s only because we’re fucking.

I am sure there are people here
who are tired of being hurt because they put a down
payment on the bullshit someone sold them
and when it started to crumble moved heaven
and earth to make the relationship work
only to find the property was in foreclosure to begin with
but goddamn – the things we’ll do just to hear someone say
they love us
What we trade in for just one more night in their bed
or one more phone call, book sale, a nice word
for what? In fifty years I won’t remember their last names
and neither will you
So stop letting people treat you like their side chick.
all or nothing
no more fucking excuses.

Walking like gods (poem)

 

frantzou-fleurine-16979

 

 

we’re walking like gods
in this day and age
where perfection isn’t requested
it’s demanded and the faulted; reprimanded
for not being the paragon 
their humanity forbids them to be

ignorance is triumphed, lauded
praised, rewarded
the producers of malice given a platform
while the advances society has made
is bled to death, made anemic,
from the fangs of power hungry preachers
singing a hymn written for a conman

and on the flip, we’d starve people
of the same precious information
because the figures of the past were imperfect
human
it doesn’t fit your New World Translation
where we – as good as we are – still wouldn’t qualify
not for a speck, but for the plank in our own eyes

there is a depth to us, in this new age,
a petri dish would call shallow
emotions whip with gale force strength
and thought and reason crumbles inward
and are sheered off the windows of our hearts

we’re walking like gods
in this over emotional neo-romanticism
and old ways – old things that should be long dead
have risen
disease, flags, and monsters with their
old hatreds for anything different
now trod across bodies, these willfully ignorant sacrifices
to sit on thrones of shattered lives and collective shame

Educated Lamentations

 

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It’s weird these thoughts in my head
words spoken to me in the midst
of stacks of books, reams of paper,
and a student load debt I cannot afford

It’s strange this sacrament placed on my tongue
though bitter to the taste and damaging to the bliss
of ignorance and a sheltered life
where I was shrouded in a perpetual state
of nebulous Christo-centric fundibabble

I was liberated into something hard and bright
naked and irreverent to the soft cushion of church pews
no, this place was hard and harsh and loud
for I was delivered out of my ignorance and handed
into the hands of my own responsibility

It is a place of jagged and haggard edges
and where truthes – while constant and vigilant –
were few and further between than the innumerable angels
supposedly adorning the crown of my head
as I lay myself down to sleep

Liberated but not liberalized
the truth doesn’t care what you believe
nor does it care about the slope of your spine
and the drawing down of your smile and the shadows
etched thick and black around your eyes
as the weight of truth rests upon mortal shoulders

While there are pleasures here in abundance
if you’re lucky enough to find a hand to hold
the process isolates men into their own thoughts
the likes of which not even the warmest hand
can pluck us out of when we wander in too far

Who am I to know the thoughts of a King
Sword drawn in utter defiance of the uncertain future?
Why should I know the memory of the slave trod
underneath by the boots of men of my own race
Where do I stand as I visit the Boot Hill
filled with Christians and Jews and Muslims who died
for a God that never spoke aloud to either?

How did we manage to keep from wiping each other out
when the falcon could no longer hear the falconer?
When does the human race break through the surface and come up for air after it’s self inflicted baptism of fire?

To none of these questions do i hold an answer save for the last one.
What happened to me that put lines on my face and gray hair in my beard?
It’s simple a thing, really, no mystery at all I suppose
I partook of the fruit of the tree of good and evil
or as lay people put it – received an education.

He was a Middle Eastern Jew (poem)

 

jason-betz-274375

Murderous, venomous
Thomas Hobbes is now a prophet
where refugees are cast aside
and black men die for the color of their skin
and thugs wearing badges prowl the streets
yes, your abundance of a pigment is STILL a reason you must bleed.

Broke down, low down
dirty rotten shame we’re sitting in
It’s like the 1930’s, 1960’s, and 1984
all rolled into one stinking pile of a lack of acumen

White is right, White is right
white is wrong here, brother man
we’re bleeding this age of reason creation
in favor of jingoistic, fundamentalist, belief in a lack of pigment

a belief in a LACK of something
that makes you superior? please vote, people
or you’ll be governed by your inferiors
cardboard cut outs posing as human beings
who’s lacking is not in color but the beating
heart that occupies a real person’s interior

Its like the tale of the body snatchers
as we’ve become soulless, demonic,
forget Agape, we can’t even grasp the platonic
love necessarily to keep from killing our fellow countrymen
someone born under the protection of and rights GOD has given them.

But you want to sit up in here and lecture on sin
are you for real? Baptist man? Pentecostal?
Since when did King George III tyranny become so lawful
it’s awful, sit down, shut up, read that damn book you carry
because what you’re lacking, really, quite clearly
is the Son of the Virgin Mary

Who, by the way, I know I shouldn’t have to say this
although it’s avoided yet it’s really hard to miss
the fact that he was a refugee, and brown skin to boot
the last thing may surprise you, He was a Middle Eastern Jew.

Yin and Yang of us (Poem)

picseli-6723

 

 

I am not me, alone
Not anymore
There is no self identifier
I, has become we
me has become thee
It’s all combined, now

You are not you, alone
When you walk through that door
the other half of you greets the other half of me
Us, transformed
morphed, molded,
immersed into another being, now

When your gone away
to wherever your labor takes you
I count the minutes and seconds
till the rest of me walks through the door

When I’m here alone
You labor along side of me
your thoughts become my words
I ponder what you’ve taught me
and give it away to the world

Not codependent, symbiotic
my breath, my body,
your heartbeat, your laughter
Yin and Yang
we are – individually- part of the whole, now

The Devil among us (Poem)

jesse-bowser-6054

The devil walks among the pious

among the rich and lofty few

toward the halls of justice and of government

into the heart of the holiest place

sunlight streaming on-top of his head

from the stain-glass windows

 

The devil stands behind pulpits

and carries the Bible in his hand

with a white smile he beguiles the many

and throws out those who hear something off

about his words, his gaze, his temperament

this wolf in sheeps clothing says

Love the sinner, hate the sin

 

The devil is in the ear of the parent

spare the rod spoil the child, says the deceiver

children need a firm and powerful hand

he encourages the shattering of a child’s safety

for there is nothing sadder in the world

nothing more pleasing to him, than the hopelessness

of a cynical child

 

The devil walks among us, not quite the roaring lion

we all have come to expect stalking his prey

from high grasses, nay

he’s less a powerful feline and more like a rodent

chewing through the ropes that bind us all together

creating chaos wherever he goes

 

So if the devil can be in these places

then his evil can disguise itself as well

not the rumble of thunder, nor the rolling of drums

but in the form of whispers as gentle as a feathers touch

that fall upon a willing ear of a person

ready to set the world on fire

confirming to him the prejudices of his heart

and convincing him that he alone can make the world right, again.

 

For He is the Opposite of Grace